Before April 26th, 2019:
Pre-flight, I was on edge, needy, and drinking wine. During flight, one hand clung to Chris’s while the other clutched a glass of wine. I listened to my calming playlist as the plane hurtled down the runway and lifted from the ground.
Songs on the playlist include: Hey Jupiter by Tori Amos, Answer by Sarah McLachlan, By Your Grace/Jai Gurudev by Krishna Das, A Day Without Rain by Enya, and Prayer of St. Francis by Sarah McLachlan.
We used to preload movies for me on the iPad: Shakespeare in Love, When Harry Met Sally, and Julie and Julia. Then, so many of the planes we flew on offered movies on the seat backs. I watched Big and You’ve Got Mail. Something about Tom Hanks is so comforting. I think it’s because I watched so many episodes of Bosom Buddies when I was a kid and loved its theme song, My Life by Billy Joel.
Recently I started relaxing enough to read during flights. I managed to laugh out loud on a plane a couple of months back while reading Commandments of the Lord Who Created Meryl Streep in The New Yorker. I also find Meryl Streep to be a grounding, calming force and storylines by Nora Ephron.
The week leading up to our April 26th flight:
My therapist broke it to me. Alcohol doesn’t even help with actual relaxation during flight. I’m just associating the relaxation I feel on a night out with alcohol. He said something about the relaxation coming more from the event of being out on a date, with friends, etc. than any drink I might have.
I started meditating daily.
The last two flights have ben morning flights as in out of bed at 3 a.m. and through security before 5:30 a.m. I’ve done plenty of morning flights and still drank wine before boarding.
“Honey, it’s so early –”
“Honey, we’re flying.” I’d point to the bar where others were sitting drinking wine, mimosas, beer, and so on. “I am not alone in this.”
While in the security line at the Minneapolis airport, we realize that our tickets have assigned seats on them and they are not next to each other. My backpack was held for additional screening and the TSA staff was overwhelmed with bags that required more thorough checks. I’d packed a box of Kashi bars for our grandson in my backpack. Food is allowed on flights. However, it’s supposed to be taken out and put in the bin. I didn’t know that.
I asked Chris to go ahead and see if he could do anything about our seating arrangements at the gate. It felt like I was waiting an extra 20 minutes in security. I doubt it was that long. While I waited I did my best to be grateful that security was thorough.
On my way! I texted.
Can’t move any seats…we will have to ask on plane 🙁
There wasn’t a breakfast option nearby that appealed much to me. Then, I decided to make-do with a croissant. It’d be way more calories and not quite filling enough, yet I love a good croissant. Two bites in and it was too dry, maybe stale. I threw it away. $5 gone without good reason.
It was enough to send me into a bad luck tailspin. Instead, I was annoyed. I recognized that I was annoyed by minor irritations. That was all.
We boarded. I sat next to a kind, talkative, and interesting woman. I think her name was Rebecca. My legs shook uncontrollably for a few minutes. Then, they stopped. I drank water. I ate an Rx protein bar. Rebecca and I continued talking. We landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
On Both April 26th & 29th:
I didn’t invest my time in worrying or fretting and the planes didn’t crash. Before, fretting was the vigilance that kept me safe. I used to worry that if I didn’t have a glass of wine that the irony gods would insist on crashing the plane.
I am becoming a light for myself during flights. One thing I keep noticing with eh passing of time and the calming of my anxieties is that life is more fun when I allow myself to feel competent. It’s more fun when I’m willing to be the light and see things as they are; no worse, or better. I am my codega. Are you yours?
This post is part of a series inspired by Eat Pray Love.